The motorbike season is in full swing with the numbers of motorbike road users traditionally peaking between April and September.
While motorbikes represent only 1% of traffic, they account for 19% of deaths on Britain’s roads, and 339 motorbike users were killed in reported road accidents during 2014. Although the annual amount of fatalities has been rising slightly since 2012, the amount of fatalities on our roads has decreased by over 50% since 2003.
In contrast to the number of fatalities rising only slightly, the numbers of motorbike riders injured in accidents has risen relatively sharply, by 8.7%, from 2013 and numbers of injuries are now at their highest levels since 2009, even though the increase in injured casualties has outstripped the increase in traffic.
The most common injuries sustained by motorbike users are lower limb fractures, but other fractures are also common, including fractures to the pelvis and arms. Other injuries frequently seen include Bikers Arm, road rash, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury.
Contrary to popularly held misconceptions, exceeding the speed limit and travelling too fast for the prevailing conditions were both contributory factors for only 5% of accidents in 2013 where the motorcyclist was deemed responsible. The most common contributory factors were failing to look properly and loss of control, each accounting for 16% of accidents.
Any discussion about road safety between car users and motorbike users is likely to spark a heated debate but there are practical steps that each category of road user can take to avoid accidents and stay safe.
The successful ‘THINK!’ campaign urges motorcyclists to stay safe by wearing the right gear and choosing the right helmet. They also advise motorcyclists to ride defensively by staying alert, anticipating the actions of others, making sure that you can slow down and stop if the unexpected happens, positioning yourself in the safest place to maximise your visibility, and to take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres.
Car users often complain of bikes weaving through stationary and very slow moving traffic, but this manoeuvre, known as filtering, is legal. So as well as taking care to look out for motorbikes at junctions and when changing lanes whilst moving, it is equally important to be aware of motorbikes in slow moving traffic, especially where car users can sometimes change lanes suddenly.
Of course, a motorcycle attempting to pass traffic moving at speed is not ‘filtering’, it is overtaking, and the same rules apply to the motorbike in that situation as to other road users.
If you’ve been injured as a result of a motorbike accident, Hilary Meredith Solicitors Limited has a dedicated team of Personal Injury Lawyers with significant expertise in these types of claims to get you the best compensation possible. We can help with all aspects of your claim, arrange for treatment and help you on your road to recovery.